Standards

Pharmacies conducting pharmacy services over the Internet and other businesses or persons conducting drug-related services over the Internet must meet the following standards to earn VIPPS or Vet-VIPPS accreditation or NABP e-Advertiser Approval.

  1. Licensure. The pharmacy, medical practice, medical practitioner, or any such practice or practitioner to which the applicant site links or with which it is affiliated, must be licensed or registered in good standing to practice in all required jurisdictions.
  2. DEA registration. The pharmacy, medical practice, medical practitioner, or any such practice or practitioner to which the applicant site links or with which it is affiliated, if dispensing controlled substances, must be registered with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
  3. Prior discipline. The pharmacy, pharmacist-in-charge, medical practice, medical practitioner, or any such practice or practitioner to which the applicant site links or with which it is affiliated, must not have been subject to significant recent and/or repeated disciplinary sanctions.
  4. Location. The pharmacy, medical practice, medical practitioner, or any such practice or practitioner to which the applicant site links or with which it is affiliated, must be domiciled in the US.
  5. Validity of prescription. A pharmacy shall dispense or offer to dispense prescription drugs only upon receipt of a valid prescription, as defined below, issued by a medical practitioner authorized to prescribe under state law and, as applicable, federal law. A medical practitioner authorized to prescribe must not prescribe, distribute, or offer to prescribe or distribute prescriptions or prescription drugs solely on the basis of an online questionnaire or consultation without a pre-existing patient-prescriber relationship that has included a face-to-face physical examination, except as explicitly permitted under state telemedicine laws or regulations.

    Definition: A valid prescription is one issued pursuant to a legitimate patient-prescriber relationship, which requires the following to have been established: a) The patient has a legitimate medical complaint; b) A face-to-face physical examination adequate to establish the legitimacy of the medical complaint has been performed by the prescribing practitioner, or through a telemedicine practice approved by the appropriate practitioner board; and c) A logical connection exists between the medical complaint, the medical history, and the physical examination and the drug prescribed.
  6. Legal compliance. The pharmacy, medical practice, medical practitioner, or any such practice or practitioner to which the applicant site links or with which it is affiliated, must comply with all provisions of federal and state law, including but not limited to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Federal Controlled Substances Act (including the provisions of the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act). The pharmacy, medical practice, or medical practitioner must not prescribe, dispense, or offer to prescribe or dispense medications that have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  7. Privacy. If the applicant Web site, or any site to which the applicant site links or with which it is affiliated, transmits information that would be considered Protected Health Information (PHI) under the HIPAA Privacy Rule (45 CFR 164), the information must be transmitted in accordance with HIPAA requirements, including the use of Secure-Socket Layer or equivalent technology for the transmission of PHI, and the pharmacy must display its privacy policy that accords with the requirements of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
  8. Patient services. The pharmacy, medical practice, medical practitioner, or any such practice or practitioner to which the applicant site links or with which it is affiliated, must provide on the Web site an accurate US street address of the dispensing pharmacy, medical practice, medical practitioner, or corporate headquarters. The pharmacy, medical practice, medical practitioner, or any such practice or practitioner to which the applicant site links or with which it is affiliated, must provide on the Web site an accurate, readily accessible and responsive phone number or secure mechanism via the Web site, allowing patients to contact or consult with a pharmacist or medical practitioner regarding complaints or concerns or in the event of a possible adverse event involving their medication.
  9. Web site transparency. The pharmacy, medical practice, medical practitioner, or any such practice or practitioner to which the applicant site links or with which it is affiliated, must not engage in practices or extend offers on its Web site that may deceive or defraud patients as to any material detail regarding the practice, its staff, prescription drugs, or financial transactions.
  10. Domain name registration. The domain name registration information of the applicant Web site, or of any pharmacy, medical practice, or medical practitioner it promotes, must be accurate, and the domain name registrant must have a logical nexus to the dispensing pharmacy, medical practice, or medical practitioner. Absent extenuating circumstances, applicant Web sites utilizing anonymous domain name registration services will not be eligible for approval.
  11. Affiliated Web sites. The applicant Web site, any pharmacy, medical practice, or medical practitioner it promotes, its staff, domain name registrants, and any person or entity that exercises control over, or participates in the applicant business, must not be affiliated with or control any other Web site that violates these standards.